Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Annotated Bib - What Time Is It?

It's time for a blog post about time!  As one of the books I reviewed below succinctly stated, "time is when things happen, and time is how long things take."  "In a minute!" "Just a second!"  How many times have we said this (or heard this)?  Helping children understand just exactly how long a minute or a second is builds understanding of the units of time measurement.  From there, you can begin exploring how to use and read clocks, both digital and analog. The dynamic, ceaseless nature of time is amazing to comprehend, but once children get a handle on the basics of time measurement, they can begin to see into the future and the past as they think about larger blocks of time - hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries...and beyond!

Timely reads

In Just One Second by Silvio Freytes.  (2009).  Wilkins Farago.  (0980416590).  Gr. K - 2. 
Freytes, a popular writer for children throughout the Spanish-speaking world, pairs with commercial illustrator Flavio Morais to create an engaging tale about all the things that could happen in "just one second."  The book features an analog clock, albeit without numbers, but children can see that there are three hands:  the second, the minute, and the hour hands.  The story begins: "Late one autumn afternoon/Somewhere in the south of the city,/at 27 minutes and 32 seconds past seven o'clock,/A woman dressed in yellow/Watched in great surprise/As a girl leaned out of the window..."  The rest of the book shows all the different events that took place in that short space of time, and "it all happened in just one second."

Just a Second:  A Different Way to Look at Time by Steve Jenkins. (2011).  Houghton Mifflin Books. (0618708960).  Gr. K – 3.  
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am smitten with this book.  It was released not too long ago, and I have it on my holiday list of things to buy (for myself, and a few select others).  In his introduction, Jenkins writes that "most people reading this book will experience more than two and a half billion seconds in their lifetime.  But a lot can happen in a second."  In the following pages, he provides examples from nature and everyday life to illustrate what can happen in a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, and a year. At the end, he has two special pages to show things that happen very quickly (less than a second) and very long (for prolonged periods of time).  Super bonus:  Jenkins provides gorgeous illustrations at the end to show the history of the universe, a graph showing Earth's human population (past and projected), various life spans for plants and animals, and a great history of time and timekeeping.  I simply cannot imagine teaching time without having this fascinating book. 

Telling Time: How To Tell Time on Digital and Analog Clocks by Jules Older. (2000). Charlesbridge Publishing Incorporated.  (0881063975). Gr. 1 – 3. 
A recent trip to local children's bookstore bbgb turned me onto this book. Wonderful, kid-friendly illustrations help children really think about time as "when things happen" and "how long things take." This book could really help children see the connections between telling the basic units of time (on digital and analog clocks, which it does exceedingly well using great illustrations) to understanding larger units:  the days of the week, the months of the calendar year, decades, centuries, and millennia.  Roman numerals are also explained.  Along with its wonderful, explicit instructions for helping children understand how to read clocks, it concludes with a fun poem at the end to help them remember how long things take. 

The Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel.  (1996).  Harper Collins Publishers (0060267887).  Gr. K – 2.
A Year with Frog and Toad is currently playing at Theatre IV, the Children's Theater of Richmond, so I have been re-reading my beloved copy of the Frog and Toad stories.  There are three stories in this treasury that could be used to talk about time with your students.  The story "Spring" could be a fun way to talk about time using a calendar. Toad doesn't want to wake up now that it's spring (April). He's been asleep since November, and says he'll sleep in until May. Frog looks at Toad's calendar (which is still on November), pulls off all the calendar pages until it says May. In "A List," Toad writes up a list of things he has to do and crosses them off as he does them - until his list blows away. You could get your students to make up their own daily "to-do" lists, write down the times in which they do each task, and then model the time on a Judy clock.  "The Garden" could be used to talk about days, as Toad plants flower seeds and waits impatiently over the course of several days for them to sprout (yelling at them does not speed the process up).  Students could listen to the story and then figure out exactly how many days (hours, minutes, seconds) it took for Toad's seeds to sprout.

Tuesday by David Wiesner.  (1991).  Clarion Books.(0395551137).  Gr. K – 2.
Okay, this isn't a true time-telling kind of book, and there are barely any words to provide a narrative, but I feel that I must include it because it is such a wonderful way to talk about time as it relates to sequential events.  When I taught art, I used it to get children to think about telling a story without any words, and then asked them to create their own "wordless story."  While you do make this story up on your own as you page through it, the basic story line is this:  "Tuesday evening, around eight," frogs begin to fly up out of their pond and into the city.  "11:21 P.M.":  a frog can be seen outside a man's kitchen window.  "4:38 A.M.":  the magic starts to falter and the frogs land back down and hop their way back to the pond.  The book's ending?  "Next Tuesday, 7:58 P.M.," when something else begins to take flight.  So funny, so wonderfully illustrated, this book could be a great way to model the time on Judy clocks and develop an in-class timeline of events.

Useful Websites 
Education World:  Telling Time Bingo:  This lesson plan provides information on how to teach time through Bingo, and even has a link to a telling time Bingo sheet that you can print out for your class.  The rules of the games are provided in this lesson, and using a large board clock, you show a time on a large clock and if the children have it on their board, they can mark it off.   The first student to cover five times in a row calls out BINGO! and wins the game. 

Guinness World Records:  If your students get really excited about how fast you can do certain tasks, or how long they might take, it could be fun for them to see some of the time records on the Guinness World Records Website.  Just use the "search records" icon and type in "fastest time" or "longest time" and check out the fun results; for example, the fastest time to pop a hundred balloons by a dog (44.49 seconds - less than a minute), and not only can you see a picture of the dog and find out the exact length of time it took, but this link also features a video of the balloon popping canine. I would recommend showing this on a Smart Board or via projector (i.e., with a lot of teacher supervision).   

Hickory Dickory Dock:  This interactive game offers help in reading clock words and telling time.  You must read the time at the bottom and click on the correct clock.  A piece of cheese will appear on the clock, and if you choose the right clock, your mouse gets a snack.  If you choose the wrong clock, your mouse might become a cat snack. Students will have fun while learning about reading the analog clock and figuring out the correct fifteen-minute intervals (half past, quarter to, and quarter past).
 MathTappers: ClockMaster:  If you're lucky enough to have an Ipad in your classroom, or if your students have access to an Iphone at home, you can check out this app:  a game to help children make the connection between hours and minutes and to teach them how to read and set time on digital and analog clocks. 


Mr. Myers' Classroom: Jude e-Clock:  This incredible online clock interactive features a toolbar at the bottom for children to move the hands of the clock in the center of the screen by minutes, 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes, and an hour.  If you click on the large purple icon in the upper left, it states the time as a written statement ("Twenty minutes past one"), and if you click on the other icon in the upper right, it shows you the time on a digital clock.  There are two smaller purple icons on the bottom:  if you click on the lower left and it produces two time calculators (where students can input start and end times), and if you click on the the lower right, it changes the clock face (you can choose between a clock face with five minute increments shown, Roman numerals, with only 3,6,9, and 12 showing, and another with no numbers on it at all. 

Teacher Information
Virginia Standards of Learning

1.8:  The student will tell time to the half-hour, using analog and digital clocks.
1.11:  The student will use calendar language appropriately (e.g., names of the months, today, yesterday, next week, last week, etc.)

Background information from the Curriculum Framework
All students should:
  • Understand how to tell time to the half-hour, using an analog and digital clock.
  • Understand the concepts of a.m., p.m., minutes, and hours. 
  • Understand that there are sixty minutes in an hour.
  • Understand how to use a calendar as a way to measure time. 
  • Identify the seven days in a week.
  • Determine the days/dates before and after a given day/date (e.g., yesterday, today, tomorrow).

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